Disappearing display in OpenSUSE

Q First off, I've only been a Linux user for approximately two years, but I've been very impressed with the various distros available based on the users' needs. I've successfully installed Mandriva One 2008, PCLinuxOS 2007 and Ubuntu 7.10 on a Dell desktop computer. However, I've had only limited or no success with Ubuntu Hardy Heron and OpenSUSE 11.0 on either the Dell or my main machine, an HP MCE desktop. I've been trying to load OpenSUSE 11.0. After initial boot, I'm given the choice to select OpenSUSE and do so. The image begins to load normally, only to switch to a black screen with a small information window stating 'OUT OF RANGE 46.4kHz/44Hz'. The machine then freezes and I'm forced to shut it down via the power-on button.

A This is a warning message from your monitor. It means the computer has sent a signal that is outside of the monitor's frequency range, so the monitor has disabled the display. This is preferable to the system used in days gone by, when monitors used to fry their electronics upon receiving a frequency signal that was too high. The OpenSUSE installer is still running at this point, you just can't see it. This is usually caused by the installer loader misidentifying your monitor, but the solution is simple.

When you see the first menu screen (the one where you chose OpenSUSE), press F3, then choose the lowest video mode that works. If you get the same problem with all video modes, try the text-based install. It is the same installer, but with a more basic interface that you navigate using the Arrow, Tab, Space and Enter keys. The video resolution chosen here is used only for the installer - the graphical system that will be installed is more intelligent and will probably detect and configure your monitor correctly. Even if it doesn't, there's an option to do this by giving it details of your monitor. Usually the model name and number is sufficient, but at the worst, you have to pick a safe resolution like 800x600 @ 60Hz. Once the system is installed and running, you can try different display settings in the hardware section of Yast.

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